Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin yesterday condemned recent newspaper advertisements targeting the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), calling it both an attempt to sully the country’s image and to “blackmail” a government agency.
In a brief statement issued yesterday, Gaskin identified Siri Persaud as the person behind the anonymous ads, which were placed in the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News newspapers to coincide with the recent hosting of the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exposition (GIPEX).
“It is my view that the Guyanese public in general and the business community in particular view this as a despicable and distasteful attempt to scare away investors and embarrass our country,” he said.
When contacted, Persaud said he had no comment on Gaskin’s accusations.
“INVESTORS BEWARE, GOINVEST ELSEWHERE,” the ad had stated.
Gaskin noted that one week prior to the publication of the ad, he had received an email, copied to him, from Persaud, who indicated his intent to release an advertisement at GIPEX unless a certain matter was resolved before the weekend.
Gaskin said he hoped Persaud would have elected to pursue his business with the government in a more responsible manner, using the appropriate mechanism to appeal his case.
“The malevolence of Mr. Persaud’s actions notwithstanding, I am encouraged by the outspoken condemnation of this deliberate act by local business leaders and members of civil society,” the minister said.
“I too wish to condemn this attempt to besmirch the image of our country in the eyes of foreign businesses. His attempt to blackmail a government agency into expediting a particular matter is reprehensible,” he added.
In a statement issued last week, GO-Invest also accused the person responsible for ad of seeking to extort the agency to supply a favourable response by a given deadline.